UNH Marching Band Makes Little Boy’s Birthday Wish Come True

Karina Krul

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Everyone remembers the best birthday they’ve ever had and the present that seemed too good to be true. On Oct.17, the University of New Haven marching band helped make a local boy’s birthday wish a reality.

For his fourth birthday, Owen Messing, wanted to visit and conduct a marching band. When his parent’s, Noah and Lori Messing, began to search for the perfect present they began looking at different local marching bands but finally decided on UNH saying, “We looked at a few different bands and were impressed by the UNH band’s website and the size of the band.” When Jason DeGroff, the band director here at UNH, received the email he was “surprised but also thrilled.”

Owen Messing playing drums with snare drummer Karina Krul (Photo by Erin Synder)

Owen Messing playing drums with snare drummer Karina Krul
(Photo by Erin Synder)

When Owen and his mom walked onto the football field during the band’s Saturday morning practice Owen’s eyes lit up with delight and an ear-to-ear smile formed on his face. He watched the band finish practice on the side lines with his mom and shortly became the center of attention once practice ended. He took pictures with the Trumpet Section, led a portion of the band around the field, and played one of the marching band snare drums! He was an honorary member of the marching band for the time he spent with them on the field.

Owen’s love for marching bands has been a persistent theme throughout his early childhood; according to his parents, “Owen has loved music since he was born.”

He even used to ask his parents to sing marching music so he could march to it through the streets of his town. It was clearly the best birthday present, leaving his parents’ only concern being topping it in the future, as they said “I don’t know how we’re going to beat this.”

Having Owen come to practice was not only rewarding and special to him; it was also an outstanding experience for the band. The band members loved seeing Owen so young and completely captivated by the marching program.

As DeGroff said, “It was such a nice moment when Owen was surrounded by so many members of the UNH Marching Band.”

Many members felt the same; drum major Erin Snyder said “The look on his face when he saw the band and played his drum for us said it all.”

Beyond enjoying the sheer joy radiating off of Owen, drum major Kaelyn Passeri believes it made the band practice better as well, “His smile was so electric it made us rehearse even better.”

Owen’s presence at practice inspired the band to take ownership in their show and gave them the motivation to become even greater.

“We are living his dream, and that is all the reason to keep going. That is the reason we do what we do,” Passeri said.

Owen may have been given the best birthday present he could ask for, but the marching band was given a reason to keep performing.